Friday, March 4, 2011

Should you buy an iPad now?

Probably, yes.

We have all been witness to the flurry of blog posts, tweets, Facebook updates, and news stories on the potential of the iPad for teaching and learning.  Though I was initially a bit delayed in drinking this particular flavor of Kool-aid, I am definitely a convert to this device's portability, versatility, interactivity, and the instantaneous student engagement that results whenever it is pulled out (see Heidi Hanks' post for a second on this, and Barbara Fernandes' for a third).  My one reservation is in the "versatility" area- the iPad still has its limitations with regards to producing work, especially written work, and though it contains a web browser, it cannot access many of the wonderful educational interactives out there that are Flash-based (and therefore should not be thought of as a replacement for a laptop).  However, all that said, the iPad and the cornucopia of apps available for it have proved an essential addition to my therapeutic toolkit since I bought it last Fall (and keep in mind that I say that as a part-time SLP currently- if I had a more diverse caseload I think I would be even more enthusiastic about the iPad).

Why now? I have had a number of inquiries in the past months about the iPad, and my response has been that waiting for the arrival of iPad 2 would be wise.  iPad 2 was just announced this week for release on March 11, and as expected it is faster, thinner, and equipped with dual cameras for FaceTime, PhotoBooth, and video creation.  The pricing structure remains the same, with the 16G WiFi model (my recommended starting option as long as you know your district will let you put the device on their network- ask!!!) at $499.  Now is also a good time to consider whether you would be happy with a first-generation iPad at a greatly reduced price, as many fanboys (probably me too) will be selling theirs and Apple is offering refurbished models for pretty cheap.

So, I'd say go for it.  Before the buzz around iPad 3 starts (probably in 2012) and kills our buzz.

Check out this snippit from the video used at the iPad 2 announcement on Tues, featuring Howard Shane's (of the Children's Hospital, Boston- Communication Enhancement Center) thoughts on it being a "game-changer" for kids with autism). It actually made me a little verklempt.


  1. I have two students in Malaysia who are using the iPad at home and school. The things that they are doing are incredible. Do you know if they have enabled the device for a change in sensitivity? I have a student with CP that is way beyond his GoTalk, but can't use the first iPad because of his sweeping motor movements. Thanks for the help!

  2. I actually don't know...but will be on the lookout for info on this. Could be a software issue as much as iPad 2 vs 1, and they are going to be putting out an iOS operating system update- maybe they'll address this. Apple's really excellent about accessibility so I would think it's only a matter of time.

  3. I googled "Should I buy an iPad" and ended up here :) I'm thinking the interwebs want me to buy one.

    Great blog post as usual!

  4. Thanks! I am not one to preach restraint haha...I must be doing well on my "search engine optimization" whatever that means, if you got here that easily! Good luck with your decision!